In typical playoff fashion, the Yankees snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. The Cleveland Guardians’ ninth-inning rally led to them winning Game 3 of the ALDS 6-5.
In a heartbeat, the Yankees lost control of the series and now need Gerrit Cole to be lights-out near-perfect in Game 4. Home runs by Aaron Judge, Oswaldo Cabrera, and Harrison Bader were wasted. Forget Luis Severino barely escaping two innings before shifting to cruise control through 5.2 frames.
And all because Aaron Boone tried to squeeze some extra outs out of Wandy Peralta.
Here’s what we learned:
Advantage Cleveland. It’s not just that New York blew a winnable Game 3 and now trails the series 2-1. As we noted yesterday, a close game didn’t necessarily favor the Guardians. It favored them even less trailing 5-3 going into the ninth inning.
Except now, Cleveland can clinch with a win in Game 4 and now has a rested Emmanuel Clase and James Karinchak. As for the Yankees? Well, they basically have no choice but to win via blowout on Sunday.
Bullpen goes bust. The Yankees’ bullpen was always tenuous heading into the playoffs and Game 3 was a prime example. Boone has to be careful with how he manages arms due to Thursday’s rainout and losing Game 2 in extra innings didn’t make his job easier.
But no matter how you slice it, leaving Wandy Peralta in to start the ninth was a bad decision. He was already at 17 pitches after throwing 15 on Friday. That’s a lot for a reliever being asked to go back out for a second full inning. Cut to rookie Clarke Schmidt, a trained starter, looking rough early and ultimately blowing the game.
And where was Clay Holmes? Out with “soreness,” according to Boone.
Homer happy. The sad truth is that the Yankees have once again become too reliant on the home run. All five of their runs came via the longball tonight, five runs on five hits.
Cleveland, meanwhile. fought and clawed to six runs on 15 hits. The Guardians have actually out-hit the Yankees this series by an eye-popping 30-16 margin. New York has hit more home runs, 6-3, but contact-hitting Cleveland is a win away from facing the Astros in the ALCS. In a rare departure from baseball today, the bloops have won out over the blasts.
And if the Yankees don’t find some bloops of their own soon? Well, let’s just say they may join the Mets on the golf course sooner rather than later.